Implementation research

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Implementation research is the scientific study of barriers to and methods of promoting the systematic application of research findings in practice, including in public policy.[1] Often, research projects focus on small scale pilot studies or laboratory-based experiments, and assume that findings can be generalised to roll out into a practice-based domain with few changes.


Implementation research explores the challenges that are faced when generalizing research findings "in the real world", such as in the fields of healthcare or school-based education.

Public Health[edit]

In the context of public health, the World Health Organization defines it as a form of research which " addresses implementation bottlenecks, identifies optimal approaches for a particular setting, and promotes the uptake of research findings: ultimately, it leads to improved health care and its delivery." [2] and it has been described to have four characteristics - systematic, multidisciplinary, contextual and complex. It has been more broadly defined as “ the scientific inquiry into questions concerning implementation—the act of carrying an intention into effect, which in health research can be policies, programmes, or individual practices (collectively called interventions).”[3]

While a wide range of qualitative and quantitative research methods are used in implementation research in health but some of them have been developed more specifically for the purpose of implementation research . These are pragmatic trials, participatory action research, effectiveness-implementation hybrid trials and quality improvement studies.[4]

StaRI is the reporting standard for reporting implementation studies in public health.[5]



  • Society for Implementation Research Collaboration [6]
  • European Implementation Collaborative [7]
  • The Society for Implementation Science in Nutrition[8]


  • Implementation Science [9]
  • Implementation Science[10]


  1. ^ "Implementation Science". Springer Publishing. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  2. ^ WHO TDE. "Implementation research toolkit" (PDF). WHO TDR. WHO TDR. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  3. ^ Peters, David H (2013). "Implementation research: what it is and how to do it". BMJ. 347: f6753. doi:10.1136/bmj.f6753.
  4. ^ Peters, David H (2013). "Implementation research: what it is and how to do it". BMJ. 347: f6753. doi:10.1136/bmj.f6753.
  5. ^ "Standards for Reporting Implementation Studies (StaRI) Statement". BMJ. 356: i6795. 2017. doi:10.1136/bmj.i6795. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  6. ^ Retrieved 14 March 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Retrieved 14 March 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Retrieved 14 March 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ . Biomed Central Retrieved 14 March 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ . Elesvier Retrieved 14 March 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Walker, Anne E.; Grimshaw, J.; Johnston, M.; Pitts, N. Steen; Eccles, M. (2003). "PRIME – PRocess modelling in ImpleMEntation research: selecting a theoretical basis for interventions to change clinical practice". BMC Health Services Research. 3: 22. doi:10.1186/1472-6963-3-22.